Leases and Rental Agreements

Understand what to expect for the tenancy agreement when renting property in Canada...

Anyone can rent a property in Canada as long as they fulfil the landlord's lease requirements and demonstrate that they are able to pay the rent. Rental agreements or leases in Canada stipulate:

  • The monthly rent
  • When rent should be paid
  • How the rent should be paid
  • The length of the contract
  • The utilities included in the monthly rent
  • The conditions of contract (including termination and any repairs that are deemed the tenant's responsibility)
  • Details about landlord inspections

Landlords may ask for details about the future tenant's employment and salary, conduct a credit check or ask for references from past landlords to ensure the rent can be paid. However, it is illegal for landlords to ask personal questions about ethnicity, religion, marriage and children or to ask details about the tenant's length of stay in Canada.

Restrictions may apply as to whether pets or smoking are allowed, and also whether the property may be decorated or painted.

It is normal for the landlord or property manager to ask for the first month's rent in advance and ask for payment on a monthly basis. Landlords may ask for 12 post-dated cheques to cover the agreed lease, if a year's contract has been stipulated.

Household insurance is not obligatory but tenants are responsible for any damage caused to their building and anyone else's.

Landlords may increase rent on a yearly basis. However, there are provincial regulations relating to how much notice a landlord must give to increase rent and by how much rent may increase per year. Regional CMHC offices can provide details about regulations covering rent increases.

Deposit

Landlords generally request a security deposit to insure against any damage to the property. However, in some provinces this is illegal. If a deposit is to be paid, this is normally the sum of one month's rent, but requirements and the amount payable can vary between provinces. When renting a property through an agency or property manager, fees for professional services are normally paid by the landlord or owner.